by Anne Poulton
A relatively new website for ex-patriates called “Counselling in France” can be accessed at www.counsellinginfrance.com.
The site aims to put English speakers living in France in touch with English speaking counsellors and is the only service of its kind in France. The French authorities do not recognise the word ‘counsellor’ unless it’s the person you see in the bank to arrange finance or sort out moving money from one country to another and many ex-patriates find that once they settle in France, their options for counselling are extremely limited as doctors very often have no idea where to find a counsellor who speaks English.Counselling in France currently has 27 counsellors all over France and clients can be sure of complete confidentiality when contacting the counsellor of their choice. For those who find that there is no counsellor near them for face-to-face work, they can arrange telephone or online counselling.
The site has a section for clients and one for counsellors. The client section has various ways of finding a therapist, either by a map, by choosing from a department list or by looking at the Counsellor Locations page to match a name with an area. There is a Counselling Resources page for groups and workshops in different areas and a comprehensive list of helplines covering most problem areas. The counsellors section has provision for counsellors to arrange supervision and contact with each other and also a section explaining how to join the site.
All the counsellors are trained (to Certificate level) or qualified (to Diploma level) and all agree to abide by the BACP Code of Ethics and Practice. For those clients who are not on the Internet, there is a telephone number to call where they will be given contact details of counsellors in their area – published monthly in the Health section of French News. This number is 0555 600123.
The cost of an appointment with a counsellor in France is unlikely to be covered by the French health insurance system but may be covered by international private medical insurance (IPMI).